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Citizens Assembly on Climate Change needed

NZ needs to replace petty politicking on climate change action with efforts to achieve climate change consensus, says Aotearoa Climate Emergency (ACE), a climate change network.

This weekend, ACE will launch its 2020 campaign for a Citizens Assembly on Climate change, in the Waimakariri District. Speakers will include the Waimakariri MP, Matt Doocey, the Chairperson of Environment Canterbury, Jenny Hughey, local Student Strike 4 Climate organiser, Mia Sutherland and Dr Richard McGubbin, a former Greens candidate.

ACE Secretary Phil Saxby says the campaign is based on the idea that meaningful climate change action requires a social and political consensus. “We face a challenge equivalent to world war, in which our survival may depend upon worldwide, effective action. New Zealand can at least set an example by decarbonising our economy, using our abundant renewable energy sources”.
“We think a Climate Citizens Assembly is the best way to reach a climate change consensus, by engaging ordinary people in climate change policy decisions,” he said: “It’s like jury service”.

Aotearoa Climate Emergency (ACE) is launching its campaign in North Canterbury deliberately. “We want to bring town and country together in this campaign,” said Phil Saxby, suggesting the choice of speakers was an indication of the breadth of the campaign.

Last November, ACE organised the first conference in Aotearoa NZ on holding a Citizens Assembly on climate change, following the successful Irish Assembly held in 2017. Speakers included Irish academic Diarmuid Torney speaking of his own involvement in the Irish assembly and its outcomes.

France is already engaged in its own Citizens Assembly on climate action (from 10 January), and the UK climate assembly opened recently in Birmingham.



More about ACE:

• ACE is non-partisan and welcomes members from all parties and groups, willing to support its aims
• ACE supports cross-party action based on consensus that climate change is, indeed, an emergency and requires urgent action at all levels of government
• ACE believes that holding a Citizens Assembly is one of the best ways in which the public can promote and facilitate the required political consensus
• ACE believes it is essential for any Citizens Assembly to be representative of the whole people of Aotearoa New Zealand, and to operate democratically, for it to have the credibility it needs with both the public and with the government bodies that must act on its recommendations. It should be established and funded by the government.

ACE will follow its campaign launch with a brief meeting to resolve on becoming an incorporated society, and electing a Committee to organise its Citizens Assembly campaign.
ACE is hoping that agreement on holding Citizens Assemblies (at both national, regional and local level) will be reached with all the major groups supporting climate emergency declarations: City Councils, ECO organisations, SS4C and other such groups, Iwi organisations, Pasifika groups, trade unions and friendly business and farmer groups.


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